London mayor Boris Johnson has pledged his support for London Fashion Week (LFW) and highlighted the money it brings to the UK economy through sponsorship and media coverage.
In a speech made during New York Fashion Week, at a reception to celebrate British creativity, Johnson praised the British Fashion Council’s International Guest Programme which provides funding to bring buyers to the UK capital for LFW and called on New York buyers to attend.
He said: “Working with the British Fashion Council we can ensure that London Fashion Week offers a high profile platform for designers and – crucially – brings in sales. Every £1 spent on the International Guest Programme produces a return of £880 and there’s no doubt in my mind this represents excellent value and makes sound business sense.”
He added: “I’m delighted that in the 25th year of London Fashion Week, some of our best designers are showing again – and that key fashion editors are returning. If you are still undecided, I urge New Yorkers to come and join us for a fantastic show.”
The government estimates that the British Fashion Council’s International Guest Programme brought a 30-fold return on investment during last London Fashion Week and is expected to bring in more this season.
Sponsorship and support for the scheme, which invites influential buyers and journalists from around the world to LFW, was worth £110,000 in February 2009. £31,500 came from the London Development Agency, the remainder from UK Trade and Investment, British Airways and the May Fair Hotel. Returns up to May show has generated anestimated £18,500,000 in sales by buyers. International media coverage was worth around £15,500,000.
In 2007, the London Development Agency awarded £4.2m to the British Fashion Council to fund programmes that support designers and the UK fashion industry as a whole. As well as the International Guest Programme, the money has been used to fund Fashion Forward, the London Showcasing Fund and London Showrooms in Paris.
Boris Johnson will officially open LFW at Somerset House on Friday. The event will run from September 18 to 23.